Fracas for Men by Robert Piguet with Notes on Fracas & Bandit {Perfume Review & Musings} {Men's Cologne}

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Fracas for Men by Robert Piguet is nominally only linked to Fracas (for women), as it does not attempt to be a masculine rendition of the famous classic tuberose fragrance created by Germaine Cellier in 1948. We do not know when exactly and by whom it was composed, although it is certainly a late creation that was probably destined for the American market. It presents itself as a spin-off, but only for commercial reasons and to seemingly participate in a brand recognition effort. The flacon is quite basic and reveals the fact that the launch was not a prestigious one.

The scent is a floral fougère, apparently almost out of fortuitous coincidence sharing notes of orange blossom, orris, sandalwood, and musk with the feminine Fracas. If there is any tuberose in it, it would solely contribute to a soft floral core dominated by the orange blossom without being made to stand out. The coolness of lavender within the fougère accord is truly the most dominant floral note.........


The history of this cologne for men is not well known as little information is available. There is even the possible suspicion that the scent might be an unauthorized counterfeit product. Thierry Piguet, the grandson of Robert Piguet, with whom we had a correspondence mentioning en passant the scent said that he was not sure about its provenance.

The box in which the flacon is to be found bears the name of the Alfin Inc. company. As it turns out, Alfin Inc. owned up to 1995 at least “…the exclusive worldwide manufacturing, distributing, and licensing rights for FRACAS, BANDIT, CRAVACHE, MUSK BLANC and other fragrances by Robert Piguet. The Fracas fragrance product line consists of perfume, eau de toilette, and bath products. The BANDIT line consists of perfume and eau de toilette.

The mention here of an authorized version for an eau de toilette concentration of Bandit is of import, since the company that currently owns the rights to the Robert Piguet fragrances, Fashion Fragrances & Cosmetics Ltd., does not offer an eau de toilette version of Bandit, therefore giving rise to the question of knowing whether Bandit edt might be an illegitimate product. To our mind, this theory poses the problem of ascertaining why anyone would be interested in counterfeiting a niche fragrance that sells for a modest sum of money, moreover making it appear detectable by calling it an eau de toilette and not an eau de parfum? Unless we were to assume that the counterfeiters were really neglectful. Moreover, the advert shown here for the Fracas (for Women) perfume, dating from 1990, does indeed mention that it is available in parfum and eau de toilette concentrations, and not in eau de parfum. Finally, the jus itself for the Bandit edt appears to be genuine.

We have a flacon of Bandit eau de toilette bought a few years ago in the USA. Its cap is faceted and golden while the bottle is made of rectangular black glass. The concentration "eau de toilette" appears on the packaging, but not on the bottle itself for some reason, which might indicate that the scent in the bottle was "re-interpreted" as an "eau de toilette" at some point, but it might be for another reason. The perfume itself smells like Bandit in edp and parfum with some variations that indicate that it is a slightly differing composition, equivalent to the type of discrepancies observed between the edp and the parfum, but not going beyond. The quality is impeccable. It was actually at one time our favorite version of the perfume.

There is no mention of Fracas for Men in the document we refer to, but it does recognize the legitimacy of Alfin Inc. as the company behind the Piguet line of perfumes. In 1995 Alfin Inc. was looking to sell its rights to the Robert Piguet brand. Incidentally, this company changed its name to Adrien Arpel Inc. in 1998.

Fracas for Men, from the Alfin Inc. period, that we may therefore infer is a genuine product, starts as a very classic, all too classic, one might be tempted to add, fougère accord with pronounced notes of sweet lavender and amber, herbs, and a hint of leather. To refer ourselves to the official classification by the Société Française des Parfumeurs, a fougère accord is principally based on notes of lavender, woods, oakmoss, coumarin, bergamot, geranium,....There is a rather suave undercurrent of peppery orris and a significant gentle sweet floral core of orange blossom that new wearers of Jean-Paul Gaultier Fleur du Mâle, which is heavy on orange blossom, will appreciate. Despite these floral elements, the composition is so typically that of a masculine fougère initially that it seemed to this perfume wearer that it might be too conventionally coded for a woman to wear, comparable in this regard to the attempt of wearing masculine garments from head to toe. The scent has such a touch of the standard cologne about it that the expression “airplane cologne” crosses our mind associated with ambivalent memories of air travel and stuffy bathroom booths exuding the scent of some admittedly elegant men’s cologne made, alas, cheaper by association with molded plastic, the dangerous proximity of the toilet seat, and the confined ambiance. The scent however reveals all its beauty in the end. It mellows down to an amazing, subtle woodsy, musky dry-down with an unexpected coffee impression, probably from the vetiver, that is surprisingly light on the senses and makes the likes of Guerlain Vetiver, Clinique Happy for Men, Roger et Gallet Thé Vert, and all the other lighter scents we tried on a hot midday appear not-so-subtle by comparison. In the near-murderous heat that engulfed itself into the streets today, everything felt too heavy except Fracas for Men. It magnifies the skin. With time the perfume turns into a skin scent of exquisite sensuality, an enduring moment worth waiting for. On wearing the scent the second time around, the knowledge of what is to come informs our perception of the scent. The coffee note is already peeking through.  One can’t wait for it to happen all over again and discover new violet nuances mixed in with the coffee and the musk.

Notes according to Basenotes are mandarin, lavender, sandalwood, vetiver, orange flower, basil, and musk.


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8 Comments | Leave a comment

  1. Interesting comparison of the various Piguet concentrations and scents. Never tried the men's Fracas, though.

    Concerning Bandit, there are two versions of EDP circulating, however, which is perplexing: one is rougher (my fav) and the other is smoother and less green-leathery. Supposedly it is the "certified" one that is the rougher. Has to do with company rights re-instated or such from what Thierry told me.

  2. Apart from the olfactory impressions, can you tell them apart looking at the packagings? Did you see them both or did you hear about them?

    The edt is rougher-smelling and used to be my favorite version.

    What do "certified" and "re-instated" mean here? Which company's rights?

    Thanks for clarifying!

  3. Dear MH,

    let me be concise.
    I have tried two different versions of EDP myself, which come in a similar bottle apart from the fact that one is labelled as "certified" version on the box (supposedly the formula of the original; when Thierry got his hands on the matter) and the other non-certified, which circulated under Alfin Inc. when they had the rights for the scent. The latter is circulating in the US and is often on e-tailers at discount, from what I have been told.
    That's what I meant.
    The EDT is close to the EDP I have, but perhaps a little sharper. Got to love Bandit!! :-)

  4. Thank you. It's interesting. I think this warrants further clarification. I wonder when this "certification" label was created and what is the legal background for it? I remember seeing this label now for the parfum. What formulas did Alfin Inc. buy and use then?

    For the edt at least I have a "non-certified" version by Alfin Inc. and it smells authentic, except that it differs somewhat, being harsher although well-balanced and polished. I noticed actually that "eau de toilette" is on the packaging but not on the bottle itself.

    So both of your edp bottles had non-faceted caps on them?

  5. Hi again M-H!

    It warrants investigation indeed, yet Thierry didn't follow up beyond a certain point :-(

    I don't have two seperate bottles of EDP (the one I have has a faceted black cap), the other one was a decant from someone who has the non-certified version bought in the US. There was a difference in smell for sure and she also confirmed it when I sent her a decant from mine for comparison: so that's two opinions who agree on that score, not just mine.

  6. Hi Helg,

    I saw the bottle with the black faceted cap you mention on Fragrance X, but it's next to a box that says "Eau de Toilette":

    The bottle made for the edp that is currently sold by FFandCLTD, I don't think is faceted, although just looking at the website, it's hard to tell. My own FFandCLTD edp bottle, with a sticker on the bottom specifying the concentration, does not have a faceted cap and it's black:

    Although it appears clearer that Fracas edp from FFandCLTD has a faceted cap.

  7. the plot thickens!

    I can't say that I discern the cap very well from the official Piguet website.
    I checked my bottle though and it has the faceted cap that can be seen on the first pic, yet it is clearly EDP and it says so on the sticker on the bottom of the bottle. (Fashion fragrances and Cosmetics LtD. NY)

    I have another bottle of EDP, sealed in its box with cellophane, upon which there is the adhesive of "certification".
    It reads: "Certification. This is the original formula of Bandit created by this company with Robert Piguet for the introduction of the perfume in 1944."
    It bears the signature of Errof G.W Stattford.
    The company is again Fashion Fragarnces and Cosmetics Ltd. NY.
    When I open it, I will be sure to let you know about the cap (which I gather is the same from what I have read).

    I think it's a fascinating issue and not much attention has been given it.

  8. The plot thickens indeed,LOL!


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